I can't say that upon viewing Crash I was of a completely open mind. I had read criticism, both positive and negative with it, and the movie had won the Oscar for Best Picture. I can say, though, that I was ready to expect it to either be very good, good, or not so good. It was not so good, but with elements that were both good and very good.
Crash is the kind of idea that can go sour or work. It is a Magnolia-esquire series of interplaying vignettes, of which the primary focus and theme is racism. It can work, if the director chose to, while focusing on racism, allow a human story to be the main focus and transcending feature. Honestly, racism isn't that interesting on its own, as a constant focus.
However, the movie makes the cardinal flaw of keeping to racism a constant focus with the human story in the background, at least in terms of the way it feels. The characters talk, and they show affection but with a few exceptions (which make up some of the most memorable quiet scenes), their words almost always are about racism in some direct or indirect way. Such as, most blatantly, the articulate gangbanger, who can't help but always philosophize on racial issues. This however was interesting, purely in a pop-conversation way, with the real problem being that the vast majority of the other characters, talk about race in a similar way (based on their context) only not in a Tarantino-like jaunt. The movie is filmed like a character drama of true human context, and so we don't want to see race being the purpose of every conversation, particularly those of more human characters like a Black TV Writer and Assistant DA, who just talk about a singular issue in virtually every single situation they are in.
This is the greatest flaw of the film, but it is not the only significant one. The film is too short, and characters, especially interesting ones like the complex and bigoted cop or the caring father of a locksmith (the one major character who almost completely avoids the issue of race and thus has the best scenes), come off as either underdeveloped or under-seen because we love them so much. This is expounded because the movie relies on coda scenes to wrap up the stories, and a few them, simply do not work. The characters are too underdeveloped for these to have an impact. The final third of the movie also seems to comprised entirely of this, so it gets tiresome, when it feels like the movie just had an "end movie on this note" scene literally 10 times prior to the current scene that also feels like an "end movie on this note" scene.
However, there is good in the movie. The film, although it can be tiresome and its structural flaws are apparent, never really becomes painful or devoid of entertainment. There are enough interesting elements and good scenes to make the movie a decent viewing experience, however not a particularly worthwhile, satisfying, or greatly entertaining one.
Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller
Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller
Over a thirty-six hour period in Los Angeles, a handful of disparate people's lives intertwine as they deal with the tense race relations that belie life in the city. Among the players are: the Caucasian district attorney, who uses race as a political card; his Caucasian wife, who, having recently been carjacked by two black men, believes that her stereotypical views of non-whites is justified and cannot be considered racism; the two black carjackers who use their race both to their advantage and as an excuse; partnered Caucasian police constables, one who is a racist and uses his authority to harass non-whites, and the other who hates his partner because of those racist views, but who may have the same underlying values in his subconscious; a black film director and his black wife, who believes her husband doesn't support their black background enough, especially in light of an incident with the racist white cop; partnered police detectives and sometimes lovers, one Hispanic female ...
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June 18, 2013 at 12:58 AM